WASHINGTON - The Department of Education plans to provide liquidity support to the student loan market through a new commercial paper conduit facility for the purchase of loans made as far back as October 2003, and also plans to renew a high-profile student loan liquidity program for an additional academic year.

The announcements from the department on Saturday are the latest developments in a series of programs the federal government has unveiled following the passage of the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act, or ECASLA, in May to assist non-bank lenders in financing student loans. Officials said yesterday that there were hundreds of billions of dollars of student loans eligible for the programs.

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